Arbe Garbe Benandants Catie's Corner Vineyard Malvasia Bianca 2015
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Friuli is a region nestled between Austria, Slovenia and the rest of Italy. Like the "arbe garbe", it has been silently growing over the centuries, a borderland that quietly and discretely provided fertile ground for the Roman Empire, the Barbarians, the Huns and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, all of which invaded it and settled there throughout the ages, all planting their roots and melting into the blend. A land of migrants, silent crossroad of cultures where sacred and pagan have been living next door to each other, the people timorously gathering in the village churches while the witches were gathering in the woods.
Friuli hides in the Valleys of the Eastern Hills. Its real essence, like its quiet population, is concealed in the arcane valleys carved by the rivers of the Colli Orientali – Natisone and Torre. These valleys are traditionally populated with peculiar wicked creatures that human are not, while the wine has been free flowing on every kitchen table of every village, to this day.
Arbe Garbe's endeavours are motivated by this history of discretion and endurance, by the dignity and modesty typical of their people, Furlans, hard-working and iron-willed, humble yet proud of the cultural opulence and poignant beauty of this longtime forgotten Land.
Working the land, making wine and baking bread were the everyday tasks of their ancestors and still inspire them today. Through crafting these wines they viscerally reconnect to their roots. The variables of wine-making are determined as vintage calls, through diligent study and raw guts. There are no absolute rules, no recipes. With a purely hedonistic approach, ever-changing blends are created that embrace the melting pot they live in – California, and the one they’ve left behind.
A standout region for its decidedly Californian take on Burgundian varieties, the Russian River Valley is named for the eponymous river that flows through it. While there are warm pockets of the AVA, it is mostly a cool-climate growing region thanks to breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir reign supreme in Russian River, with the best examples demonstrating a unique combination of richness and restraint. The cool weather makes Russian River an ideal AVA for sparkling wine production, utilizing the aforementioned varieties. Zinfandel also performs exceptionally well here. Within the Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. The former, farther from the ocean, is relatively warm, with a focus on red and white Bordeaux varieties. The latter is the coolest, foggiest parcel of the Russian River Valley and is responsible for outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Persistent with jasmine aromas and tropical fruit flavors, both grape and name are far-reaching. Approximately 70 registered grapes contain Malvasia as part of their name or are listed as a synonym. The French call it Malvoisie, Germans call it Malvasier, British say Malmsey and confusingly one variety double-times under the alias, Boal, on the island of Madeira. In any case, Italy has more forms of Malvasia than any other country: Malvasia Bianca di Candia, Malvasia di Candia Aromatico and the red-skinned Malvasia di Casorzo from Piedmont. The list goes on. Somm Secret—The actual name could stem from an Italian mispronunciation of Monemvasia, a southern Greek port.